A Fresno County sheriff’s deputy who jumped from his car and used pruning shears to free a vehicle crash victim from a burning SUV Monday was identified as Andrew Simonson.
The victim later died of his injuries at Community Regional Medical Center, but the sheriff’s office made note of Simonson’s effort.
The incident took place about 9 a.m. as Simonson was driving on Highway 180 to his job at the Fresno County Courthouse. A sheriff’s spokesman said Simonson was westbound behind a big rig near Fowler Avenue when a Ford Explorer crossed over from the eastbound lanes and collided with the big rig. The Explorer burst into flames and the driver was knocked unconscious and pinned in the wreckage.
Simonson grabbed a pair of pruning shears from a bystander’s car, cut the seat belt on the Explorer, dragged the victim away from the fire and started CPR. Emergency workers rushed the victim to Community Regional Medical Center, where the driver died. He was identified as Jaime Barajas, 47, of Visalia.